The Argument From Transnational Effects II: Establishing Transnational Democracy

33 Pages Posted: 20 May 2009 Last revised: 8 Jun 2010

See all articles by Alexander Somek

Alexander Somek

University of Iowa - College of Law

Date Written: June 7, 2010


This article continues with a discussion of what the author calls the argument from transnational effects. It says that supranational or transnational forms of integration, in particular market integration, are desirable on account of democracy itself. National democracies find themselves thereby forced to confront and to internalize the externalities that they cause for each other. A fortiori, democracy becomes supposedly emancipated from the confines of the nation state.

The article concludes that the argument from transnational effects, correctly understood, has a more modest import than its proponents would have us believe. Rather than supporting the release of democ-racy from its national bounds, it helps to explain why the co-existence of bounded democratic polities remains essential to equal citizenship. More forceful versions of transnational integration graft onto political societies elements that are not genuinely democratic and strangely reminiscent of different forms of rule. These are forms of rule that Aristotle would not have called "political", for they do not involve the exercise of power by equals over equals.

Keywords: democracy, solidarity, rule of law, administrative nationality

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Somek, Alexander, The Argument From Transnational Effects II: Establishing Transnational Democracy (June 7, 2010). U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-24, Available at SSRN: or

Alexander Somek (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

Melrose and Byington
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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